give (one) pause(redirected from give them pause)
give (one) pause
To cause one to take a moment to consider something; to cause one to hesitate. I'd love to buy a house, but the fact that I'd have to completely deplete my savings account to do it gives me pause. That statistic should give everyone pause.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
give someone pause (for thought)
Fig. to cause someone to stop and think. When I see a golden sunrise, it gives me pause for thought. Witnessing an accident is likely to give all of us pause.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Cause one to hesitate, as in The high monthly installment payments gave me pause, or, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet (3:1): "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come ... Must give us pause." [c. 1600]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
give pause to, to
To stop temporarily; to hesitate; to hold back in order to reflect. This term, too, comes from Shakespeare, from Hamlet’s famous soliloquy on death (3.1), “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come . . . must give us pause.” Eric Partridge said it has been a cliché since the mid-nineteenth century.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer